News and advice on management and the business environment — August 2016

A Parisian man is suing his former employer because his job was too boring. Plus, three quarters of adults say they would encourage a child to pursue a career in accounting.


Man sues company over boring work

Taking an employer to court for a so-called constructive dismissal — making life so difficult for a worker that he or she resigns — is nothing new. But a 44-year-old from Paris is taking the legal action to a new level, asking for €360,000 ($530,000) in damages from the perfume company where he worked because his job was too boring.

Frédéric Desnard, who was paid more than $5,000 a month as the general service director for Interparfums, claims he was stripped of his responsibilities in 2010 and was left with only menial work, such as picking up his manager’s children from sports activities. He decided to stay in the position for the next four years, he says, because work was hard to come by. But he was “ashamed to be paid to do nothing” and eventually became depressed and suffered other health problems. At press time, a Paris labour tribunal was considering the case and a verdict was expected July 27.


Accounting among top-10 recommended career paths for kids

Future accountant

Three out of four adults would encourage a child to pursue a career in accounting, a US Harris Poll finds. Of the 2,223 respondents surveyed, 75% said they would suggest “accountant” as a future occupation for kids, as compared with 90% who would recommend becoming a doctor and 30% who would advise taking up a career in politics. Interestingly, only 45% of respondents consider accounting to be a prestigious field — making it the occupation with the greatest spread (30 percentage points difference) between its perceived prestige and its ostensible suitability as a potential future career, among the 30 jobs included in the poll.


Do accountants make better CFOs?

Financial execs with an accounting background outperform their nonaccounting counterparts — but only in certain industries. In a paper published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Bentley University accounting professor Rani Hoitash examined the performance of more than 5,000 CFOs from 2000 to 2010 and found accountant CFOs in low-growth industries, such as heavy manufacturing and transportation, performed better overall than nonaccountant CFOs. In high-growth industries, such as pharmaceutical products and electronic equipment, however, the value of firms with accountant CFOs was 4.4% lower than firms with nonaccountant CFOs. Why? Hoitash suggests that accounting professionals are trained to be more conservative and risk averse, which benefits low-growth industries in terms of cost control, but may impede progress in industries where investment in growth is critical.


One more reason not to eat at your desk

About 44% of workers say they’ve gained weight in their current job — more than twice the 17% of workers who say they’ve lost weight, a CareerBuilder survey finds. So what separates the gainers from the losers? Those who lost were more likely (54%) to exercise three or more times a week than those who put on pounds (36%). What’s more unexpected is the apparent connection between eating lunch at one’s desk and weight gain: 65% of those who added pounds were desk-diners, while just 42% of the “losers” lunched in their cubicles.